Psychological stress contributes to many chronic diseases suffered by citizens in today’s society. Exposure to prolonged stress is known to increase the risk of physical and mental health problems, including depression and disabling anxiety conditions. In particular, work-related stress is becoming a major occupational health problem: 80 % of the working population across Europe think that the number of people suffering from job-related stress over the next five years will increase. The economic impact of stress is also huge: in 2002, the annual economic cost of work-related stress in the EU was estimated at EUR 20 billion.
The INTERSTRESS project aimed at developing innovative ICT-based solutions for addressing the problem of psychological stress in professional and social life. From a technological standpoint, the project involves a combination of virtual reality, non-invasive biosensors and mobile tools to provide personalised healthcare devices for stress prevention and management. The specific objectives of this approach are: (1)quantitative and objective assessment of symptoms using biosensors and behavioural analysis; (2) decision support for treatment planning through data fusion and detection algorithms; and (3) provision of warnings and motivating feedback to improve compliance and long-term outcome.